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Presidential Debate Moderators

Series/Special. Moderating the 2012 debates; social media's influence.

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01:30:00

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mpeg2video

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ac3

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704

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480

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Us 7, Romney 7, Jim 6, Washington 5, Joe Biden 5, U.s. 5, Cbs 4, Bernie Shaw 3, Paul Ryan 3, Ryan 3, Obama 3, United States 3, John Mccain 3, Mr. Ryan 2, Barack Obama 2, Martha Raddatz 2, Mr. Schieffer 2, Susan Brooks 2, Vietnam 2, George H. W. Bush 2,
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  CSPAN    Presidential Debate Moderators    Series/Special. Moderating the 2012  
   debates; social media's influence.  

    February 3, 2013
    12:30 - 1:59am EST  

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jim and bob have done this debate stuff before. for martha, it was a first appearance. you have done so many interviews in your career. was this any different? >> not at all. [applause] [laughter] >> janet brown called me. i said, i'll take a vacation and go do the debates. it was so different. i was not covering the campaign. i was running around the world. i basically crammed into nothing but study -- and did nothing but study, like studying for the sats, and then taking them in front of millions of people.
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when i first got the call, i was so out of the loop, with how they do it that i remember janet saying to me, so how many are there? we would like for you to do the rest of the debate. the fourth vice presidential debate. that is how much that i knew and i told my family, when she called it, it was right after, you have either won the lottery or you have been told you have a terminal illness. >> you did the one vice presidential debate? >> there was only one. >> the gop as you to refer to congressman paul riot as mr. ryan, but you did not.
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>> the day before, one of the people at abc got a phone call, from one of his people and said it -- there is disagreement with the commission and we get to be called whatever we want to be called. i am not paying any attention to that. i am driving handcuff i am in kentucky and i get the call, and this is ed gillespie. he says, we have work this out and you will call him mr. ryan. and i said, what about the commission? he said, this is fine with the commission.
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so you think at the beginning i will say, vice president joe biden, and paul ryan? there was no real agreement. >> have either of these political parties ask you to do something other than that. >> that was the only contact i had with anybody and frankly i just put it out of my head. it wasn't i fought -- they ask me to do this. >> and there was no influence -- i never had contact with the campaign and you had the hardest in that you were covering this. i was off in the corner. >> this was not a new experience for you. this time you ask for cbs not to have you report on the other debates because you wanted to avoid even an appearance. so why that attitude of the first time and not the first to? >> what is different is the
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scrutiny was so intense. there used to be about -- 10 people that wrote about these things. another are 700, -- >> we will get to that. >> just to give you the example. nobody holds back anything anymore. i can remember when people would write letters to the editor, and they would get it out of their system. now they just pressed -- pressed the send button. someone showed me the messages that people were tweaking, if that is what you call it, on the night of the debate. one of them said, who is that old guy? is that one of those old guys on the muppets?
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and it was sort of like that. but i kind of understood that in the beginning and i thought it would be a good idea if i stayed under the radar, and waited till my debate came along and to cbs at the beginning, they do pay my salary and they expect some work for that. then they decided maybe this was a good idea. >> was there anything special about this debate? and you were the last one? >> this was of very close election. someone asked me if i was surprised about the outcome, and i was not but this was so close and the blue states were so blue and so red, i would not be surprised if it went the other way.
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all i knew is that this would be very close election. >> jim, you have done 12 of these, i assume that each time you prepared in a similar way, with a very intense preparation. what have you learned, about candidates for the process of presidential debates? what have you picked up? >> there are several things. number one is this is not about the questions, this is about preparation so you can listen, intelligently and make some quick decisions in the new format where you have to react and all of that sort of stuff. it is about spending hours and hours trying to get enough in your head so that can -- if candidate a says something, you know if this is something important to say or something they have said before or whatever.
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and you bring the context with you, and that is the number-one thing. and the other thing is it is never about me. it is never about the moderator. these debates are designed -- i know some moderating in a debate as practiced journalism. the debate is among the candidates and for the candidates and for the public and has nothing to do with the people who are asking the questions and doing the time and all of that. it is a function of the democratic process, that is called the debate. and those are the things that come out of it. >> it is obvious that in 2012, we were at new heights of
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political polarization in the country itself and i wonder, why do you think, and i will turn to you first, why was the so much criticism of the moderator's this time, which had not been the case in earlier debates? >> i did. most of this dissipated over time because the initial criticism was that it came from partisans who thought that barack obama did a very poor job and those people could not criticize obama so they had to criticize somebody and had to criticize me or the process but once they realized it did not have that much to do with whether obama did well or mitt romney did well and had more to do with the two of them, that kind of went away, but the intensity of it was because there was this dramatic difference, with what happened?
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the moderator did not do this -- i now like to be criticized, it's not one of my favorite things to be but -- as i said, it dissipated and is gone, and most of the people who did the criticizing, many of them have come to me afterward and said, i am sorry. >> he said of the moderator should be seen little and heard even less, and in use of the moderator should stay out of the way of the flow. that being a very valid point of view, why not challenge a candidate who, you are listening to someone hide something beyond reality or live or simply mislead the public?
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why not take that among yourself? >> i would if those were the only events in the course of a presidential election. by the time you get to october, we got to october 2012, the campaign had been going on two years. and this is a lot of the process but this is not all of the process. if the candidate who says something and it is the responsibility of the first candidate to challenge -- >> you do not feel that it is your job as a moderator to be part of this. >> for me to facilitate, to do something about it, yes. >> when you were doing your debate, the vice presidential debate, you appear to have a different point of view because i remind you, your first question about libya was rather sharp, this was a pointed question. and you were clearly not just
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setting this up, and a sitting back, you were part of this. i am trying to understand if we are witnessing two philosophies in journalism at work.
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i have a feeling bob may agree with jim on this -- but i have this impression from you, anyway, that you had a somewhat different approach. >> i worship these guys and they are fantastic. i read that jim's book and -- that was part of my homework. but we all bring a different style and to me, i was chosen because i was a journalist. i did not believe i could lead to someone's defense and lead to the others defense but if i ask a question i want an answer. this is my style.
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i went through this thing when i was first chosen, thinking, i am not george stephanopoulos, but i was chosen for who i am and i was chosen for whatever body of work and have that i am proud of and i felt that -- the only thing i would say is different, i spent a lot of time on the questions. i crammed my head as much as i could and remembered things, but to me, i did what pointed questions and i wanted answers. we all have interviewed public figures and usually get 20 minutes and 18 minutes and you don't want to hound them over one topical item -- you cannot help but be part of this. you are looked at because of the questions you ask and what you contribute in the wake of that debate.
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>> there is another question having to do with the moderator's, and that was this business of, the political party is getting an answer to the question, what is the sistine mets going to be devoted to? devoted to economics or foreign policy, iraq and iran, what ever it should be. at cbs we made a deal about never giving you the questions or categories, because you are supposed to keep that distance. >> do you feel any sense of discomfort at having to participate in what you did this time. >> this is the first time i have that this way and this was new, and basically -- janet called me and said, this time we want to divide this up into six categories, and i said, fine.
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you did not have to say in what order were anything but i think -- you really don't need to in today's sophisticated world. >> but you did. and this hadn't happened before so why was the change. >> with the commission said to me was that they were keen on two things. and the commission is running this. the three of us and candy are not rolling this. >> by your jim lehrer. >> -- you are jim lehrer. >> this is how they ask and here is how the imitation goes to the debate. and if under these rules, would you do this certain fang -- i found out what they propose and made the decision, i would do that and here is what they said.
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because i was like that as well. the feeling was that the commission wanted to make sure that in the mind of the public this was a debate between the candidates, that this was not a gotcha game. this is not about reporters trying to embarrass people asked him who the prime minister of whenever this. let's open this thing up in the new 24-7 world, let's make these debates different from everything else. >> and this is to inform, in the hand, and you want the american public to know who these people are and i actually think -- let's face it, there are not that many surprise categories.
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>> if they have said, we have to see the list of categories and we will decide which ones that you can use and you can't, that would be a different story. >> i would remind you that three of mind -- six of mine, three of them were the economy. and that really stunned everybody. >> and even getting into this, this is the experience of the league of women voters, they sponsored the debate in 1976 and 1984 and for the sake of transparency i was one of the reporters that ask questions in 1984. when we finished with that, they pulled out of the sponsorship and argued at the time that there was too much party interference and they said that they had no intention of
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becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the american public. i think that this is terribly tough language, but my question -- this is overstated. >> but my question to you is not as moderators but as reporters. is this something where there may be the beginning of too cozy a relationship between the parties, and the public? >> i really don't -- i did a foreign policy debate and two of my sections were the middle east. are you going to talk about foreign policy without talking about the middle east? >> it is so obvious, why do this? >> if they don't want to do this, this is fine with me.
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>> one thing you want to remember is these debates are about substance, and they are about the middle east and the economy, but what they are really about are the candidates, and who these two people are. do you like them, do you have a feeling of trust? you take the measure of these individuals, and you ask them about anything, and the debate would still have a value. at that stage of the game in october, most of the people who are interested have already been falling the campaign and know the differences about issues. >> and we could have asked about anything, even as an economic question and get anything that you want. >> we spend a lot of time talking about education in the foreign policy debate.
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>> when you were there in the middle of the first debate, the one that the president was said to have them poor, as this was happening, was that your impression? >> no. >> what was your impression? >> the impressions that are going on, i considered more than one thing at a time, and i believed that romney was doing better and i thought that he was doing well. my own rule is that mitt romney is talking, and obama is standing here, i only look at mitt romney and i never look at the other candidate. i don't want to be a party to his reaction. the consequence is that when mitt romney was talking i did not know, even though i was
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closer to him than anybody, i was not watching the reactions of barack obama. the only time i looked at him as when he was talking. i cannot help but notice a couple of times he did not look at me, i did not have the impression. >> in the vice-presidential debate, did you see or hear anything that we, as television viewers of the debate may have missed? >> it is one thing from jim's book, you may miss the moment, on television. i don't think -- i think the one impression, for the same reason, i had no idea that all ryan was 753 glasses of water.
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this was like a saturday night live skit. i thought, i am so thirsty. these guys are talking and they have had no water. i do not think that i missed this. one thing that happens in the debates is the candidates come in, and they are ready for what ever debate that they are ready for. i think that joe biden thought that this would be a little bit more contentious. it took him awhile to get adjusted to that. i thought that this was a very interesting thing, to realize that.
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that this was happening with the candidates. what would you get to see those rehearsals? >> now that i have thought about this at this very moment, i don't think obama was prepared for what romney was doing. i was not -- >> having done this three times, you cover all the people that you interview in these presidential debates, what do you pick up, and what are the ingredients of political success? your interviews with people who have risen to the very top, what is it about them? >> every debate is different. you talk about the things that were missed in the 2008 debate, which i moderated between president obama and john mccain, these are two very
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different people and personalities and when obama would speak, john mccain would furiously taking notes. he is always over calf and it anyway. i love the guy and i like him, but he would take all of these notes and when you look over at obama, when mccain was speaking, obama never took a note. he tried to maintain absolute, direct eye contact, with john mccain almost as if, you will not rattle my chain. and he just keep looking at him and the only time -- during the debate, i still, do not know why he did this, he picked up his pen and he would draw a straight line across the notebook.
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if this was some sort of as an exercise or maybe he was putting 400 pounds of weight on this or whenever he was doing -- he always did that and i've never had the opportunity to ask why he did that. during the primary debates with romney, and i talk to him about this, he always wrote something down at the top of this note but and i asked him, what do you write down there? he said, i write down, dad, and it reminds me of my father, and he is my hero. he says i just think of him and this helps me. i have. myth that during this presidential debates i looked down, he wrote something down but i was never able to look over far enough to see if he was writing down his dad's name.
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>> i want to remind our audience, that this is "the kalb report" and my guests are jim leher, martha raddatz and bob schiefer. a question, you believe that these debates make our democracy better. do these debates -- make our democracy, as we would like to think of it, does it make it better? >> 100 percent, yes, without reservation. because they are the only times in the course of a presidential campaign when the candidates on the same stage at the same time talking about the same things in a comparative way for everyone who will vote in that election, can see them in action
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and whenever they are doing, what ever they are talking about, that is the only time they can do that and anytime that you can do that is a good step in the democratic process. >> you will not agree with that? >> i think it is better for democracy and a terrific experience for the american public. and it is kind of a coming together. i now believe in the guy you, either. i would never come in there with a gotcha question. you have this sense that you are doing something very important. like you've never done before, that this matters and you are a voice in helping the public understand, that your help in the democratic process, those debates help the democratic process.
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it is an enormous responsibility. >> what is your proof? i will ask you got to question. >> 65 million americans watched, and 65 million americans learn something and they are debating the debates the next day. they are not tune in to reporters to hear, they're not listening to what they want to hear, they're not hearing people wanting to get on the news that night, and people asking these questions. >> let me give you the proof, the debates on the last political event that we have for you can get people from both sides to listen to you, at the same time and watch at the same
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time, and all that you have to do is look at the television ratings, and the breakdown of the democrats and republicans -- republicans watched the republican convention, democrats watched the democratic convention, and the washington of today is not the same as in 1969, the democrats and republicans don't like to be in the same rooms and they don't like the folks back home to think that they are consorting with the enemy but they will sit through listening to barack obama so they can hear what mitt romney has to say and democrats will do the same. and this is the last event where you can say this. this is a good thing. the evidence is that political polarization is worse at this
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time that has been forever and a day. >> political polarization is because of a lot of different things, but one of the reasons that we have this is because we don't all get the same stuff anymore. you can get the news you can get the news delivered to you from any point of view you want. if you want a conservative point of view, democratic, a liberal point of view, vegetarian view, you can find it, and the result is that people at one end of the spectrum simply are not always getting the full story. >> i have to point out, there are many scholars in this country who have done studies of the impact of the presidential debate on their luck -- the election itself and many of them have said that these debates are grand and wonderful things, but at the end of the day they don't
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mean all that much to the voters. by the time of these debates, -- people have more or less made up their minds and it is much more like in 1992, it is issues that affect individuals who are going in to both that this wonderful and informative television debate. >> there is no question that the economy is what the elections are about. but i would point out to the scholars that there were two ships in public opinion during this campaign. the first one came after the first debate. when suddenly, here came romney and people said, that look like
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obama was going to run away with it, and the second change came at the end of the democratic convention, after the speech by bill clinton. these chefs do change minds and i think fat they are one of the the think they are one ofioof best parts of the campaign process and i think that we need to have more debates. >> but let me say to the scholars, they overlook the obvious and maybe that is why they are scholars. [laughter] no, that is not a put down. scholars need to go beyond the obvious. that is what makes them scholars. what is obvious is that 64 million people watched the first debate. four years ago was about the
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same number and there was no two-one change like there was in 2012 of what the debates too, they are confirming exercises. and the scholars tend to say, they did not change any votes and as a consequence the debates did not matter. people watch those debates, all the democrats and republicans watch, and if you are a republican you are watching your candidate in your already leaning that way. i liked this guy, and i am taking the measure, and there is a small percentage of people who are legitimately undecided. but the debate is for everyone. and what this does is rally the supporters as much as it does, as much as it causes people to change their minds or make a decision, and to me, that is hugely important.
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>> in these debates, as a participant -- who has the advantage, the incumbent or the challenger? the incumbent because he can excel -- he can speak with greater authority, or the challenger, because he does not have a greater authority? >> it depends on who the incumbent is, and the non- incumbent. i know that -- going into my debate there was being written, about how paul ryan must be -- he must be studying up on foreign policy. but on the other end, people wrote that joe biden was more nervous because he did not know a fair bit about. -- foreign policy. with the incumbent maybe you have to go over a higher bar,
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and as the non-incumbent you just have to prove yourself. >> was there any question you could come up with, was the one that you could have passed either one of the candidates that may have put them off stride for a moment? >> all three of us think -- i wish i had asked this, or that way, but it, i did not try to do that, i just wanted to know what they knew. and there is this line that you don't want to look like a complete jerk. you don't want to ask that question in a way that makes you look like it is just too cute, or were you trying to throw them off, let's go back to bernie shaw.
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i was out there as a somewhat young reporter, a local tv reporter and i remember hearing that in los angeles, and it was stunning. in the end, talk about a debate that changes things. >> the s, if this wife was raped would he believe in the death penalty. and i love that -- michael dukakis said, he was over brief that he had his answer is there and he did not think about it. there is just the moment where the moderator my ask, there is-- might miss. there is the over-briefing. one of the debates with the-- cheney and joseph lieberman, lieberman has staring directly in the camera the whole time, he seemed to weigh more brief.
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-- way more briefed. >> bernie shaw has the view that if he has the opportunity to talk to someone who may be president of the united states, or who is, it is not special that this is a presidential debate. if you have the opportunity to ask a question about a major issue, take the opportunity because most of the time, in his view, the politician will use you and your network to sell his point of view and himself. if you have the opportunity to do your thing and ask the tough questions, that is the bernie shaw line. we learned in 1960 that kennedy arrived tan, rested, ready, and nixon was pale, 5 o'clock
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shadow, restless. at that time, studies suggested that kennedy won the debate on television but nixon won on radio. he came across as authoritative. you guys have been at this. what is important in our world of television that is so critical? what is the key thing? a wonderful, clear policy presentation or wearing the kind of socks you are today. [laughter] really lovely socks. what grabs you like mondale in 1984, where's the beef.
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senator, you are no jack kennedy. is it the line or the more structured presentation? >> people vote for president. this is a different vote from anything you have to cast. if you vote for councilman, you vote for issues. will he keep 7-11 up on sundays? will he zone your neighborhood to keep out mini-warehouses. but the vote for president is different and most studies suggest people vote for the person they have the most confidence in in a time of national crisis. i happen to think this is a good reason. in that case, communication skills do matter. the american people are not stupid. they are generally pretty smart.
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they pick the right candidates. you get a fuller picture of the person running for president, not just the talking points but you get to see him react and how he reacts when the pressure is on. >> or she. >> or she, next time around. >> the ability to communicate is critical. you can have the greatest ideas in the world but if you can't communicate them, forget it. >> that is about leadership. it is not just a performance in a debate, it is leadership. >> i want to test you on a different narrative.
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there were 10 million tweets in the first debate. the most ever in american politics. if this was important to you as a moderator. if it was important, or if this fact alone has any importance at all, please explain it to me. [laughter] i want to start with martha. >> twitter -- it is out there. there are voices out there with influence. we as journalists -- it is a great journalistic tool. >> how did it effect you as a moderator? >> i had some strange press the day before, for 15 minutes, rattled me. i will tell you. it effected me as a mom.
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my son is on twitter all the time. if he is in the bedroom, "are you coming to dinner." but there was such nasty stuff. >> directed at you? >> yeah. but my son said, "mom, there are crazy people who write mean things." he's a football player. he said, "they have three followers." they all live in basements with 75 cats. [laughter] what i want to do is a realitys how where i find those people and say, "what do you mean, you don't like my hair? yours isn't great either." [laughter] >> do these tweets bother you? >> i got millions of critical
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tweets, i understand. i didn't read them. >> you're a better person than i am. >> it -- quick story. when that debate was over, we went to dinner, kate and our kids and i came away from the denver hall to the hotel where we're having dinner, we talked about the debate and that stuff. we were just talking about the debate. it wasn't that obama had done poorly or that i was a fool. then one of the people at the table had one of these gadgets. >> like a twitter gadget. get.ike a tweitter gad >> one of our friends -- they are tweeting this.
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>> they are saying all kinds of things. some of the stuff, you don't want to know. that was the end of it. then i heard about these millions of tweets and knew some were critical. the bottom line, i felt good about that debate. no tweet and twitter, ten million twitters and tweets -- >> hashtag bobs purple socks. let's see how many we can get. [laughter] >> relating to the new technology. we are caught right now in twin revolutions with politics and jouranlism and one -- journalism and one effects the other. your sense as a long-time political observer, with the impact of the new technology on the politics.
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>> it turned everything upside down. when i was a young reporter for the "fort worth star telegram." about 10 days out, there would be a whispering campaign that one of the candidates had a girlfriend on the east side. all the girlfriends live on the east side. [laughter] as a reporter, we'd go check it out. if it amounted to anything we may do something. i can't remember if it ever amounted to anything. now, there are no whispering campaigns. if someone has a rumor, someone writes it on a blog and it is out there. we as journalists, we treat them as news tips. we'd never broadcast it unless it was true.
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not everyone follows the standards of mainstream journalism. the politicians have to decide to i ignore this and hope it goes away. there is an old financial recourse. if i make a mistake and libel somebody, cbs has deep pockets. you will sue this guy in the basement with the cat? [laughter] there is nothing you can do about it. we are trying to come to grips and handle it. it has changed everything with how politics operate. >> let's look ahead to 2016, and look to the future for a moment. both of you said earlier you'd prefer there be more debates rather than fewer.
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do you think in this age of social media, where the patience of the american people is measured by the length of a tweet is limited. do you think they'd be able to tolerate more 90-minute discussions of serious issues? >> we get 60 million to watch them. maybe they would. what i want to see is six debates with the first coming immediately after the last political convention. if the democrats are last, next week, have the debate, if the republicans are last, next week, have the debate. i think they can set the tone. if you can have that first debate as quickly as possible it
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could change the tone of the debate itself. at least it would get it off to a serious start. i would also say -- since you asked me, i think the right format is to have the two candidates seated at a table with the moderator. that seems to work. the last two, that is the format. i think you can exercise better control instead of standing behind a podium. if the debate commission asked me. they don't have to ask me, i'll tell them. [laughter] i would suggest to do away with the town hall forum. it does not work in my view, with too much show business into it.
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you get the candidates performing and walking over and getting in the other guy's face. >> it shows something about the candidates. i would say -- i like the four debates. i was done with those debates. you talked it up perfectly. >> the idea, jim, of doing a debate -- if we do more debates, if that idea is seriously considered, what about doing that 90 minutes on one subject? >> that is why i'd want to do six. you can -- have one subject for the whole 90 minutes, and do it by subject rather than format. and what people think about the town halls, my experience, the
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moderator chooses the question. you'll get 22 questions, there is no give and take. it's not a real town hall. but it does have some appeal. in terms of the subject, it is not the place -- the town hall meeting is a different kind of thing. but if you did one subject at a time, i think the evidence is out there and the public would watch this. 67 million people sat at the television and watched those debates. another 16 or 20 people,there were 100 million people watching some or all of the first debate, and the same numbers continued through them all. >> we have a little more than a minute to go. i want to ask -- martha, why do you think they asked you to do a
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debate? >> i don't know. maybe because i wasn't covering the campaign? i was covering the white house and i -- that wasn't my favorite assignment. i think i am an independent operator. >> if they asked you in 2016? >> it is an honor. i hope i was chosen for my body of work and am a reporter that people trust. >> why, aside from the color of your socks, do you think the commission came to you a third time? >> i work cheap. [laughter] i have no idea. maybe because i'm older.
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>> would you do it again? >> no, i think i've served my time here. i'll quit while i'm ahead. >> jim, i asked you this question. you said, no on 2012, and you did it. in 10 seconds, can you say while -- why you'll say yes again in 2016? >> the answer is no. i won't do it in 2016. [laughter] >> friends and colleagues, our time is up. the tyranny of the clock again. you are familiar with the tyranny of the clock. but i want to close with an editorial point. i think these debates are essential to the democratic process. as far as i'm concerned, a pat on the back to the committee on presidential debates.
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i want to extend my thanks to a wonderful audience. a great panel of moderators and all of you who treasure a free and vibrant press as the greatest guarantuer of a free society. as edwar r. murrow would say, "good night and good luck." [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, what we do now, there are microphones back there and over here, and if you have a question, go to the microphone and i will recognize you, and it will be for a question.
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and if you start making a speech, i will cut you off. so don't make me be a mean guy. you can address it to the person you'd like an answer from. let's start on the right. >> give us your name -- >> my name is joseph burry, i am an alumnus of the graduate school of business. you had a great remark and a great question. do these debates promote democracy? the people up there are major party candidates. >> not a two-part question.
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>> please ask it. >> my question is, other than mr. leher, who i commend, the other three did not follow the rules, which were simple. they were to be given one minute a piece, one minute for the question, two for response, two for the re-response. and -- >> i hear you. thank you very much. would someone on the platform answer? >> i think we did follow the rules. these were 15-minute segments. you had a response and a discussion. >> those were not the rules. >> that is another debate. >> i don't want to get into a debate here.
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>> i'd like to ask a question about an issue that played a role but was never discussed, climate change. they expect reporters to ask about the future -- >> let me say one quick thing. i arrange my things by subject and what is most important. i was cut from the bottom to see how the discussions ran. climate change was on the list and i didn't get to it.
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one of my huge frustrations, small potatoes frustration. i thought the debate itself was fine but it was limiting in the subjects that could be covered. i made the decision, sitting there. we had to cut, and i cut that. >> was a fiscal cliff part of the issue that you did not get to also? >> the fiscal cliff came up. i decided we said enough about it. >> right. >> matthew. and investigated during the list. -- i'm an investigative journalist. there is a little bit of the vice presidential debate on the fact that the president attended your wedding to the fcc chairman. do you think that was handled right?
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given a second chance, would you do anything differently? >> i did not have to handle that carri. i will not comment on that. that was something that happened two days before the debate. it is in "the new york times" quite a bit before that i believe. that had nothing to do with what i did at the debate. nothing. >> thank you. >> yes please. >> my name is steve. i work in the news business. to the extent that you are all familiar, share some anecdotes about stage manager on some of these debates and keeping people on time and their cues and not bearing far-off from the questions. >> time cues and stuff, i'll tell you a quick antidote. 1988.
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george h. w. bush. halfway into the debate, george h. w. bush was giving an answer. time cues were liked. high-tech. greenlight, red light, yellow light. greenlight means top, red light means shut up. george w. bush is in the middle of an answer and i stopped him. i said the time was up. he pointed to the lights that were under the tv cameras. in my ear i heard the voice of the executive producer saying, jim, he is right. [laughter] in front of everyone i have ever known in my whole life, i said, mr. vice president. you're right. go ahead.
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i forgot what i was going to say. go ahead. never wanted to be seen again. i still do not know what happened. >> yes please. >> hi. bob wiener. i'm a mainstreet reporter radio. question -- would gingrich have one after his debate in south carolina if he had repeated that performance with a strong soundbite in florida instead of falling asleep? likewise, would obama have lost the election if the polls slipped and showed romney was better after the first debate if he had repeated the performance and the last two debates?
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what is your reaction to that? >> well, these are questions we will never know the answer to. you know, where governor romney made a mistake -- i think, and this is my sense to it and the way he react it to questions asked -- i think governor romney thought he was a hit going into the third debate. there were polls that suggested that, but based on some reporting, i believe he thought he was a hit when he went into that debate and basically sort of did what a football team does -- he went into defense. i think that probably hurt him. i do not think at that time he was a hit.
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one of the things i base this on -- i started out that debate asking him a pretty pointed question about benghazi. republicans were really criticizing about this. this was a place where it governor romney really wanted to take on the president, he could have done it. he did not. he sort of skipped by that restaurant and went on into something else. i think he was afraid that he did not want to appear overly aggressive. i think that was probably a mistake on his part. i think that is a mistake he made. >> the reverse is true for obama in the first debate. obama thought he was ahead. he paid a price for it.
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>> yes, please. >> i am a washington d.c. resident. my question is for mr. schieffer. considering what you discussed about how most americans are watching news that is tailored to their political views and candidates are going on those news shows, this is one of the only opportunities for those 60 million americans to see a candidate willing to challenge them. do you think that changes the role the moderator plays in the debates? >> i was not one who said i did not approach this as a journalist. i do. i do think this is a place where you are there to give these candidates a chance pass and an opportunity to show who they are. like jim, i do believe when one can do it says something, it is the responsibility of the other candidate that if there is an inaccurate see there, if there
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is a different point of view there, i think the other candidates should have the first opportunity to make that correction. >> what about the second opportunity? >> i tried at times when i thought it was not being addressed to address that. i think you are trying to find out who these people are. and what they are about. and what they would do if they are confronted with these situations that are going to come up in the presidency. like jim, you are not electing a moderator. you are electing a president. everybody who moderates one of these debates has to keep that in mind. to your point, you are absolutely right. we are not all getting the same stuff anymore.
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the only way you can be truly informed is to consult a variety of sources before you make up your own mind. >> let me add a little bit what i said. you are obviously functioning as a journalist. not in a way i would be if i were doing something on the news hour or bob was doing on cbs, or martha on abc. it is a different form with a different purpose. yes, the skills involved that i use and we used, whoever does, our basic journalism skills, you have to know what the hell is going on. you have to know how to question and listen, those are journalism skills. i did not say that very well so thank you for the opportunity to correct myself. [laughter] >> yes, please. >> i am an engineering student. one of the things i love about the debates is they serve to detach the candidates from these big campaign machines and let
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you see them for who they are as people. where is the line between gotcha questions and questions that do not hit the point in terms of getting the candidates to be real humans? >> you are trying to get people to say things they mean, not what they did not mean. that is why i do not think some gotcha thing works. there are a lot of things. if somebody asked me who the president of some country, there are a whole lot of countries, i would not know the answer. i do not think that would have anything to do with whether i am
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person. it is just not my specialty or something. i think that is where the line is carried you are trying to get people to say who they are and what they mean and why they have taken the positions they have taken, not to mix them up. you will find out soon enough if they know what they are talking about and more than two paragraphs. >> one of the things you are trying to do is be fair. and let them talk about what they want to talk about. i think the difference between intervening is if i ask a question and i want an answer to that question, yes i agree if they do not answer my question i might try to press it, but if someone else is challenging them on accuracy from the way they see it, that is very different. there is a point of view sometimes when people, if people intervene and say, but wait a minute, that is not the way it happened, there is not always an absolute truth to those things. i think if there is a question there is a clear answer to, you
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do have to say, it was 4:00 and not 3:00, if it is anything beyond the ones, i think you let the candidates challenge each other. >> the american people for two years prior to the time you have the presidential debates, were listening but not learning anything. it was up to you. you ask the question and 60 million people watched and suddenly we really understand what it is they are saying? why should we believe the candidate trying for two years and probably 20 before that to be the president of united states, say something different to you more meaningful and honest than he has been trying to say for two years? why?
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>> it will not happen. if you are looking for candidates to say something different, forget it. it is the opposite. you want to know what these people believe. >> do you think you know that after two years? >> i am not sure you do. maybe those of us who it is our business to follow the campaigns minute by minute and read the paper. most people are not doing that. there is nothing wrong with that. they do not have time. >> that is the form where you do have to change -- >> people are focused on this. he may have said it 100 times but it may be the first time you heard it. >> and heard it in a comparative wage. >> that is different from what he thinks.
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>> yes, please. >> i am a young professional in d.c. i question is for mr. schieffer. you said all elections come down to the economy. you can make the argument president obama centered his candidacy on social issues. what about today with the fiscal environment the united states is facing? what we have better discussions during these debates that centered more on the economy? >> i think in the end, this one did come down to the economy. the president may be basing his second term on social issues. if you take his inauguration speech as a guidepost to where he wants to go from here. but i did not hear him to talk a
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lot during the campaign. the economy began to get better. i did not see him spending a lot of time talking about gay rights during the election. i did not hear him talk very much about gun control. i think it was mentioned once in one of the debates. i think they thought they had to get -- what they concentrated on, in some ways, this was not so much an election about issues as it was about identifying their voters and getting their voters to the polls and recognizing the demographics in this country were changing dramatically. they figured that out and how to get people to the polls and republicans did not do as well. i think the core of the president's message was the economy.
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>> the last question because we are running out of time. >> this is for martha raddatz. you seem to have gotten a lot of criticism during the vice- presidential debate, allowing joe biden to run all over you. the cost of laughing and the interrupting of paul ryan, particularly when he was talking about an armed iran. how can you say you had any control over that whatsoever? [laughter] >> tweet, tweet, tweet. [laughter] >> i want to answer you fairly, i do. i think when we came out of the debate, joe biden had 45 seconds more than congressman ryan. i think congressman ryan felt it was fair. that is what i can say. i think congressman ryan afterwards could not have been
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nicer. both of them were. both of them thought it was fair. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, we have run out of time in this program. in the distinction that has been made tonight between moderator and reporter and everybody being a reporter but serving a function as moderator in these presidential debates, we have a rich pool of journalists in this country because it is a free country. you have got awfully good reporters. i want to make the point that this weekend, we lost one of the really great reporters. the kind of reporting stanley did in vietnam, the 13-part series he did on cbs, his book on vietnam, the history, are going to leave students and all
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of us as citizens enriched by the spirit and energy and diligence stanley put into that work. we are all diminished by his departure. in a way, enriched by the knowledge that good journalism is the essence at the heart of a free and open society. so long as we have good journalists, we will continue to have a free and open society. thank you all very much for joining us. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> and basic's radio address, president obama and susan
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brooks talked about reducing the national debt. the president talked about investing in programs that would enable economic recovery. the presented a brooks talked about the republican effort. >> hi, everyone. we face some important decisions about how to put down our debt in a way that grows our economy and create good jobs. the decision that will make a real difference in the strength of our recovery. we began with economists and business leaders saying that we are poised to grow. there are signs of progress. car sales are at a five year high. manufacturing is coming back. businesses created 2.2 million jobs last year. we have learned that our economy created more jobs in the last few months that economists are originally thought. this week we also received the
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first testament of the economic growth over the last a few months. it reminded us that bad decisions in washington can get in the way of economic progress. we cannot cut our way to prosperity. it has not worked in the past and it will not work today. it could weaken our economy. a could cost us jobs. not just now, but in the future. what we need is a balanced approach. an approach that says let's cut would we can afford, but make the investments we cannot afford to live without. investment in education, research, development. republicans and democrats have worked together to reduce our deficit by $2.5 trillion. that is a good start, but to get the rest of the way, we need a balanced set of reforms.
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for example, we need to lower the cost of health care like programs like medicare. we cannot pass the burden. these reforms must go hand-in- hand with eliminating excess spending in our tax code so that the wealthiest cannot take advantage of loopholes and reductions that are not available to most americans. 2013 can be a year of solid growth and more jobs and higher wages. everyone in washington needs to focus on what is right for the country, on what is right for you and your families. that is how we will get our economy moving faster. it will strengthen our middle class. we will build a country that rewards the effort and determination of every single american. thank you. have a great weekend. >> hello. my name is susan brooks. it is a pleasure to speak to you
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from my home state on indiana. my husband and i have raised two children here. i've been a u.s. attorney for this area and starting last month, one of the state voices in the u.s. house. i'm proud to live in a state that spends less than it takes in. the secret to our success has always been a value system that promotes a strong sense of responsibility and accountability. family members and tax payers and community volunteers. for too long, the democratic majority has failed to see the value in the sound model of working hard and living within your means. on their watch, we have been operating without a national budget, piling up debt that exceeds $16 trillion and unemployment levels that remain
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stubbornly high. we are at risk of having our credit rating downgraded. despite these challenges, americans may have cause for optimism. i recently voted along with my colleagues in the house to present the democratic majority in the u.s. senate with a simple but powerful challenge -- pass a budget or you do not get paid. by forcing senate democrats to live up to one of the basic responsibilities of government, passing budget, we can confront our spending problem. we are holding president obama for the sequester spending cuts he first proposed in 2011. republicans want to replace the president's sequester, which is a series of harmful cuts, with a better commonsense cuts and reform. all of this will require everyone to get serious about
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the spending problem. each of the last two years, the republican-led house has passed a responsible budget. unfortunately, it has been nearly four years since of the senate democrats have passed a budget. in that time, i have seen one child in high school get into college while another graduate from college and enter the professional workforce. like most parents, i'm worried that our nation's children will pay in actual dollars an opportunity for our failure to lead. remarkably, there are leaders in washington who do not understand why it is important to have a budget. one senator said a budget is not that meaningful. i disagree. solving these questions is why i
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ran for congress in the first place. the budget matters to americans who cannot afford to see their taxes go up or lose a job that would be destroyed in the process. and budget matters to people who worry about protecting and saving critical programs at social security and medicare. it matters to younger workers who fear more money will be taken from their paychecks. these are big challenges. with much-needed determination and a dose of optimism, we will meet them. we have a chance to begin balancing the nation's checkbook. we can restore faith in our country. we can hold them accountable and make sure we seize the opportunity. thank you for listening. as the daughter of a former football coach, i want to wish everyone a happy super bowl weekend.
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>> next a discussion on the future of medicare. after that, a form on u.s.- israel relations. after that, the u.s. role in syria. >> you are able to see the fertility rates declining. i declining, we hit the second world war. we were around 2.1 or 2.2. we have the only major -- fertility rate increase, which is the baby boom. it really was a remarkable moment. fertility increased quite high. not only did it jump up, but it stayed up for an entire
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generation. people changed the way they lived for a generation by 1970, the momentum ended. we saw not a gradual slowdown, but a dropping off of it left. >> jonathan last on changing demographics and birthrates could cause the u.s. to lose its place as a world leader. sunday night on "after words post quote on c-span 2. >> on tuesday, a senior official from blue cross blue shield of massachusetts looks at care health -- healthcare costs. she spoke at an event hosted by national journal in washington. this is just over two hours.
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>> good morning. i want to welcome you to the summit in building a higher performing medicare system. in addition to the folks in the room, welcome to the live stream viewers who are watching at national journal.com. i will ask if you take a moment to please silence your cell phones. we want this to be a lively discussion. we welcome your comments and your suggestions via twitter at hash tag medicare. we ask that you stake your names and your organization before asking a question. this policy summit would not be possible without the medical association. we have dr. james who served as executive vice president and ceo.
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he was an accomplished medical position and medical scientists of pathology and laboratory medicine before assuming a distinguished professorship and deanship at the university of chicago school of medicine. dr. madera. [applause] >> well, thank you. good morning and welcome. in the news gallery in here at the newseum, you'll soon archived newspaper from july 31, 1965. there is a headline with a photo of president lyndon johnson signing medicare into law. where now almost half a century later in that same structure. there are concerns about the program as needing renovation. today we come together to ask how congress and the healthcare
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community can work together to reimagine the medicare program to ensure that patients get both high-quality care, but also in a cost-effective way. we will hear about new payment models that will have timely performance information and also include physicians that are front lines in delivering care to the medicare population. physicians and others in the healthcare community understand the urgent need for reform and the urgent need to work together toward this. the ama and other organizations , 110 organizations in all have drafted a framework for what is needed and how we can come together to solve these issues. this framework outlines four elements essential in transitioning to a new care and payment delivery model and the
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principles of this framework include -- the development of models that reflect physician diversity and practice, geography specialty, one size will not fit all, models every war positions for innovation to improve the quality of care and lowers the rate by which costs grow, and thirdly, concrete ways to measure progress and to show policymakers that physicians are accepting accountability both for quality and for costs. this approach is sensible and represents a diversity of physician practices, patient population, and community needs around our nation. as you leave today, this framework will be available to you. while no efforts to shape the while no efforts to shape the medicare system